House Judiciary Committee members consider legal brief in support of Apple vs. U.S. government

“Members of the House Judiciary Committee are considering filing a ‘friend of the court’ brief in Apple Inc’s encryption dispute with the U.S. government to argue that the case should be decided by Congress and not the courts, five sources familiar with the matter said,” Dustin Volz reports for Reuters. “The sources cautioned that no final agreement had been reached on what would be an unusual intervention by congressmen in a legal proceeding. Any filing would occur after a panel hearing on Tuesday that will include FBI Director James Comey and Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell. The court deadline is Thursday.”

“The filing would argue that the Feb. 16 order from a federal court in California that instructs Apple to write special software to unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters threatens the constitutional separation of powers, the sources said,” Volz reports. “They said the brief would come from individual committee members of both Republican and Democratic parties but not the judiciary committee itself… Lawmakers could wait until the appeals process before intervening, the sources said.”

“The unusual Congressional intervention would come on top of a wave of support for Apple among its Silicon Valley brethren. Some two-dozen companies and civil liberties groups are expected to weigh in on Apple’s side,” Volz reports. “A number of large tech firms have publicly said they will file briefs supporting Apple. Google, Facebook and Microsoft are expected to file jointly and be represented by Neal Katyal, a Georgetown law professor and former acting U.S. solicitor general for the Obama administration, according to a source familiar with the companies’ plans. Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter, the Mozilla Foundation, and the cloud storage firm Box, along with advocacy groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, are also expected to support Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 🙂

Do the right thing, U.S. Congress.

This is not about this phone. This is about the future. And so I do see it as a precedent that should not be done in this country or in any country. This is about civil liberties and is about people’s abilities to protect themselves. If we take encryption away… the only people that would be affected are the good people, not the bad people. Apple doesn’t own encryption. Encryption is readily available in every country in the world, as a matter of fact, the U.S. government sponsors and funs encryption in many cases. And so, if we limit it in some way, the people that we’ll hurt are the good people, not the bad people; they will find it anyway. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 2016

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Visit the Apple-backed today.

Apple will tell Congress that strong encryption protects against terrorists – March 1, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook can probably defy the US government all he wants and not go to jail – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook picks up where Snowden left off in privacy debate – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked: Access to your security cameras would be just a judge order away – February 28, 2016
The Apple vs. FBI fight is about something more basic than software and laws – February 28, 2016
Apple privacy battle with Washington looms as watershed moment – February 26, 2016
Apple’s lawyer: If we lose, it will lead to a ‘police state’ – February 26, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016


    1. Actually Rob wrote an article (Feb 19) entitled:

      “Why Apple is right to fight FBI over iPhone access”

      The opening paragraph is a doozie:

      “I’m not exactly known as a huge fan of Apple. In fact, for nearly a decade and half I’ve refused to use their products and I’m supposedly banned for life from Apple’s properties. It’s definitely personal between me and that company, so for me to come to Apple’s defense takes some kind of cataclysmic event.”

      Having read some of Rob’s trash for over the years I’m impressed though the article is in the “wackadoodle.” category.

    2. Guess I’ll just have to keep using copy & paste of my response to a previous post on MDN. So here goes:

      Are you stupid? Have you not realized by now that it is the Obama administration that is demanding Apple create the backdoor?

      Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone

      Here’s the truth that gets almost everybody angry: Obama, Trump, and most of the established elected Senators and Representatives HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME POSITION ON THIS ISSUE. That is, they knowingly lie by stating that the FBI wants to unlock “only one phone” while full well knowing that they (the FBI via the Obama administration; it would be the same if, say, Bush or Clinton were still in office) are asking for a master key to unlock ALL iPhones.

      Please stop trying to make this a political issue. We should all be alarmed that the majority of our so-called leaders of both major parties are willing to ignore the majority opinion of Americans on this issue.

      The issue of personal privacy should be of paramount importance to all of us, regardless of how we vote. Put your partisan politics aside and look at the facts, as painful as this will be to you.

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